Despite his demand that the shopkeeper should “hand over le fromage de la Belle France” in Monty Python’s classic ‘Cheese Shop’ sketch, John Cleese’s frustrated customer, having exhaustively listed the cheeses he’d be happy to buy, is ultimately disappointed and having shot the cheese shop owner for wasting his time, leaves empty handed.
Paris is… by Vassil Tzvetanov, on Flickr
If only he’d been able to pop over the Channel to Paris on the Eurostar…
France is renowned for its varied and exquisite cheeses, and nowhere is the nation’s love of cheese better demonstrated than in the fromageries of Paris. Whether you’re a dedicated cheese aficionado or simply looking for something a little more exciting than cheddar, the French capital is a genuine treasure so here’s a selection of some of the best cheese shops in Paris.
Fromagerie Lepic, 20 Rue Lepic
The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Fromagerie Lepic will happily guide novices through the huge selection of cheeses in this small but well-stocked shop in the fashionable Montmartre district of Paris. Specialities include the unpasteurised goat’s cheese, Brugère, but amongst Fromagerie Lepic’s diversity of matured, seasoned, hard and soft cheeses there should be something to please everyone.
La Fromagerie, 31 Rue Cler
Not only is Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement the site of one of the best street markets in Paris it’s also where you’ll find one of the city’s best cheese shops – La Fromagerie. Every available surface of this smart and friendly cheese shop seems to overflow with different and delicious cheeses, and for those who have difficulty in choosing between the countless varieties on offer, La Fromagerie helpfully provides a range of hand-picked selection packs.
La Ferme Saint-Aubin, 76 Rue Saint Louis en l’Ile
Just moments away from the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame on the River Seine’s Île de la Cité, the family-owned La Ferme Saint-Aubin is a gem of a cheese shop that not only sells a terrific range of cheeses but also cured and uncured meats, sausages and as many sauces and accompaniments for cheese that any cheese-lover could wish for.
La Fermette, 86 Rue Montorgeuil
In an area of Paris that is more abundant with luxury hotels, like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, than it is with cheese shops, La Fermette is truly unmissable. Since 1895 this Paris institution has been supplying a huge selection of fine cheeses not only from France but also from Holland, Italy, Germany and Britain. With more than 250 different cheeses to choose from its fortunate that the staff of La Fermette is as knowledgeable and as friendly as their range of cheeses is impressive.
Androuet, 6, Rue Arsene Houssaye
Androuet opened in 1909 and this tiny fromagerie retains a wonderful ‘old-fashioned’ look and feel which extends to the helpful customer service. Specialising in mature, handcrafted, farm and raw milk cheeses, Androuet is the place to pick up the finest examples of Brie, Camembert, vintage Comté and Swiss Gruyère, Roquefort and a selection of excellent Italian and English cheeses.
Barthelemy, 51 Rue de Grenelle
This beautiful little cheese shop in the Montparnasse district of Paris is highly regarded by virtually everyone who visits it. Despite is diminutive size, Barthelemy is crammed with more than two hundred different varieties of cheese, beautifully and enticingly laid out on havily-laden shelves. This may not be the least expensive fromageries in the city, but the price paid is reflected in the quality and deliciousness of these superb cheeses.
Marie-Anne Cantin, 12, rue du Champ de Mars
Almost in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Marie-Anne Cantin’s superb fromagerie supplies cheeses to many renowned Parisian restaurants and hotels. Specialising in the finest French artisanal cheeses including chèvre, roquefort, cantal, brie, camembert, and comté, Madame Cantin has been in business since 1950 and still works in her shop today. Widely regarded as one of the best cheese shops in the world, a pilgrimage to Marie-Anne Cantin is a must for any devotee of great cheeses.
Copyright © 2013 John McElborough